Border War Game
KU Downs MU 26-21 in Close Match – Staying Undefeated
October 24 in Swope Park, Kansas City MO
You could see this match coming for weeks. The Missouri Tigers had already dispatched rivals Illinois and Kansas State. The Kansas Jayhawks were coming off winning the Red Dirt Rugby Tournament last weekend in Oklahoma. KU came into the game undefeated and ranked by Goff # 28 in college Division 1. MU was ranked # 29. The weather was perfect for the game. It was 60 degrees, cloudy, and the wind was a mild 10 mph blowing down field. The Jayhawks had the wind behind them at kickoff. MU controlled the ball a good 90% of the first 10 minutes and forced the Jayhawks into an endless tackling drill.
17th Minute – Jayhawks outside center MARTY BROWN was awarded a penalty kick and chose to punt the ball down to the MU 5 meter line. It was KU’s linout so KU’s hooker, RYAN RUSSELL threw to the first man in the lineout, KU’s big captain MATT HARMON who pushed towards the MU goal line. The Tigers massed on him and offered a momentary break for HARMON to flip the ball back to RUSSELL in the gap between Harmon and the sideline. RYAN RUSSELL scored a try in the left corner. – KU wing AJ LaROCCA’s attempt for the extra points was a difficult kick from the sidelines and was wide. SCORE 5-0 KU
25th Minute – MU was awarded a penalty kick and punted to the sidelines 40 meters from KU’s goal line. MU won the lineout and began a series of attacking phases that ended up with a stood up MU player on the KU goal line. The MU players worked the ball through the standing crowd (what’s called a “maul” in rugby-land) and scored a try left of the posts. MU’s conversion was good. SCORE 5-7 MU
37th Minute – KU was awarded a penalty kick on the MU 5 meter line on the right side of the field. KU scrum half THOMAS WAKIM toed the ball and fed it to their big forwards. KU ran one attacking phase and then flipped the ball to the big freshman loose head prop JEFF SCHUMAN who punched in for a try left of the posts. AJ LaROCCA’s kick was good. SCORE 12-7 KU
Halftime – The Jayhawks now face the wind.
3rd Minute – The game was just underway and the Jayhawks were on their own 22 meter line attacking in phases. MU snatched a ball in a poorly controlled ruck and did a couple of quick phases, breaking tackles, and scoring on KU right of the post. As MU was making their conversion kick, the Jayhawks goal area was alive with KU player-to-player reminders that they had to tackle MU in the legs to improve. SCORE 12-14 MU
9th Minute – MU was at midfield and kicked a soft punt to the middle of the field and the ball was caught by KU freshman 2nd row RYAN HARRIMAN who promptly turned up field, shedding Tigers. When he was 10 meters from MU’s goal line, he flipped the ball to freshman wing AJ LaROCCA to his right who ran for the right corner. He was tackled by the Tigers, so the ball was fed across the field to the left where it ended up in the hands of the Jayhawks wing ARNOLD DINH, who scored at the left post. AJ LaROCCA’s easy kick was good making the SCORE 19-14 KU
15th Minute – The Jayhawks were awarded a scrum 10 meters from the MU goal line on the far left side of the field. KU won the hook and the ball was fed to the backfield that was arrayed to the scrum’s right. ARNOLD DINH was the wing playing the sideline to the left and behind the scrum. He launched into the backfield between fly half DANNY BUTEYN and inside center SAM TANNER. The Tigers closed on DINH who blew through a wall of 3 Tigers and scored right through the uprights (See photos - its amazing). AJ LaROCCA made the easy chip. SCORE 26-14 KU
35th Minute – MU punted the ball about 22 meters from their own goal line and it was fielded by reserve #8 DANIEL BUESCHER who broke tackles and was downed in a mass of players on the Tiger goal line. The ref was not happy with the play on the ground as KU struggled to down the ball across the goal line amid a mass of Tigers. MU was awarded a penalty kick and drove it to the sidelines at midfield. MU won that line out and continued phased attacks closer and closer to KU’s goal line. The hitting and pace of play was the highest intensity of the match as the Tigers knew their time was short.
39th Minute – MU was awarded a penalty kick 5 meters from the KU goal line. MU toed the ball and continued several minutes of attacking phases until MU finally scored right of the posts. Their kick was good. SCORE 26-21 KU
In the closing minutes of the ball game, MU was able to control the ball and get into the KU half of the field running attacking phases. The Jayhawks finally got possession of the ball and booted it out of the field on their right sideline at midfield. The ref called the game for time. FINAL SCORE 26-21 KU
So now that # 28 beat # 29 on a neutral field, where do the undefeated Jayhawks go in national ranking?
KU plays Oklahoma in Lawrence next weekend. Watch this Facebook page for details.
Westwick Rugby Complex, E 1094 Road, Lawrence, KS, United States 66047 --- Mail to: The Kansas Rugby Foundation Inc. P.O. Box 1182 Lawrence, KS 66044